Paws and Claws: Decoding Animal Rights and Battle Against Cruelty

Published On: 31st March, 2024

Authored By: Rudrakshi Bakshi
University of Jammu

ABSTRACT:

With an emphasis on the Animal Cruelty Act, this article explores the important subject of animal abuse and its legal ramifications. The article seeks to provide a thorough examination of the Act, examining its history, development, and efficacy in tackling various forms of animal cruelty, in light of the growing significance of preserving animal welfare.

The historical background of the Animal Cruelty Act’s creation is traced at the beginning of the article. The contents of the Act are examined in detail below, including its definitions of cruelty, its scope, and the range of punishments that can be imposed for violating it.

In addition, the essay evaluates the difficulties and constraints associated with implementing the Animal Cruelty Act, taking into account elements like insufficient funding, legislative gaps, and differing levels of public awareness. It also looks at significant case studies and earlier decisions that have influenced how the Act is interpreted and applied.

With an emphasis on the Animal Cruelty Act, this article explores the important subject of animal abuse and its legal ramifications. The article seeks to provide a thorough examination of the Act, examining its history, development, and efficacy in tackling various forms of animal cruelty, in light of the growing significance of preserving animal welfare.

The first part of the Article traces the historical background that gave rise to the Animal Cruelty Act, illuminating public perceptions of animals and the moral arguments that drove lawmakers to take action.
In addition, the article  evaluates the difficulties and constraints associated with implementing the Animal Cruelty Act, taking into account elements like insufficient funding, legislative gaps, and differing levels of public awareness. It also looks at significant case studies and earlier decisions that have influenced how the Act is interpreted and applied.

KEYWORDS:

Animal cruelty Act  , Government , Legislations , Wild Animals , Wildlife Protection ACT

INTRODUCTION:

An important turning point in the continuous international endeavor to safeguard and advance animal welfare is the Animal Cruelty Act. This legislation tackles the numerous forms of animal cruelty, stemming from the recognition that animals are sentient entities worthy of decent treatment. The act functions as a foundation for the law, providing clear definitions of cruelty, defining consequences for violators, and delineating procedures for their application.

The development of the Animal Cruelty Act is a reflection of a larger cultural shift in attitudes toward animals, which acknowledges their intrinsic worth and the moral obligation to keep them from suffering. This article examines the historical background that made the passage of such legislation necessary as well as the nuances of its contents. The article clarifies the practical consequences and difficulties in implementing the legislation by examining significant instances and legal precedents.

Furthermore, this essay highlights the necessity of further efforts to strengthen the Animal Cruelty Act, proposing cooperative projects and possible legislative changes. The article promotes a society that actively works towards developing a more humane and respectful treatment of animals, in addition to adhering to legal norms. It does this through increasing public awareness, education, and a collective commitment to compassion. By doing this, it hopes to further the conversation on animal welfare and spur constructive reform in the area of laws protecting our fellow sentient creatures.

HISTORICAL BACKGROUND AND EVOLUTION OF ANIMAL CRUELTY LAWS:

Many domesticated and wild animal species are revered and adored in Indian culture, where animals have long been an integral component of the ethos. Along with a great sense of reverence and affection for “The Almighty” and his many earthly creations, such as trees, forests, rivers, mountains, etc., animals are seen as the embodiment of “The Almighty.” A universal idea of harmony between people, animals, and the environment exists, and it becomes ingrained in the people’s spiritual lives. Nevertheless, there are still a lot of locations where people worship animals because they think they serve as divine messengers.

Humans have displayed a variety of views about animals throughout history. The Vedas, which are considered the foundational texts of Hinduism, preach non-violence and ahimsa toward all living things. Similar to Buddhism and Jainism, vegetarianism and the abstinence from animal sacrifice have gained significant traction. Even so, eating meat was still widespread in the past.

The British also demonstrated their care for animal rights. In order to stop animal abuse, British Coles worthy established the first Indian society in Calcutta in 1861. Following this, there were numerous movements against the slaughter of cattle in northern India in the late 1800s.

The Prevention of abuse to Animals Act, 1960, the first animal welfare law passed after independence, made animal abuse illegal. Provisions for scientific experiments are also included in the Act.[1]

Particularly revered by Buddhists, Jains, and Hindus are cows. In most of India, killing cows is illegal. Sometimes rioting follows the slaughter of cows. In retirement communities known as pinjrapoles, Jains and Hindus tend to milking cows that are no longer able to provide milk.

Animal conditions in India deteriorated as a result of British colonization. In India, the first slaughterhouse was constructed by British in 1760, and by 1910, there were 350 of them. The traditional Hindu beliefs on cows were disrespected by the British. The writer of this essay claims that in 1857, they made Muslims and Hindus lick cartridges smeared with pig and cow fat. Additionally, they urged Muslims to eat beef and hunt predators, sometimes even paying them for each animal they killed. Because Indian dogs competed with British dogs, the British detested them and mass-murdered them.

In 1860, the British Raj established its first laws pertaining to animal rights. The law forbade some forms of animal maltreatment, but it did not provide funding for safe havens for mistreated animals. In 1861, the inaugural Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals was established in India.

The Indian Parliament enacted its first animal rights laws in 1962, following the country’s independence. The Animal care Board of India was established by the legislation, and it formulated laws and regulations concerning animal care. The Board and Parliament passed numerous animal protection laws over the course of the following fifty years. Animal experimentation, transportation of animals, animal performances, and slaughterhouses are all governed by laws in India. Due to the demand for tiger bones and skins for medicinal purposes, tigers are an endangered species and were protected by the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972. India switched from employing killing to reduce stray dog populations to rabies vaccine and catch-and-neuter programs in 2001, following forty years of persistent advocacy.

Prime Minister Indira Gandhi changed the Indian Constitution in 1976 to mandate that both the national government and the people of India safeguard the natural environment and wildlife. The amendments support those who oppose cruelty to animals. Regretfully, India still needs to advance. Each year, 75 billion eggs and six million metric tons of meat are produced in India. It ranks fifteenth globally in terms of broiler production and sixth globally in terms of egg production. Cows are mistreated too. India is a country with a high prevalence of intensive milk production, which includes inhumane methods including separating calves from their mothers. In 2001, four million metric tons of beef were produced in India.[2]

DIFFERENT FORMS OF ANIMAL CRUELTY:

Animal cruelty can be broadly classified into two categories: physical abuse and neglect. However, there are various subcategories of animal cruelty that vary in severity under each of these categories.

NEGLECT:

Fundamentally, neglecting animals means not meeting their needs. This might include failing to feed a hamster, leaving a dog outside without access to fresh water or protection from the weather, or failing to meet the medical needs of an injured animal that need veterinary care. Neglect can be deliberate, even though it is frequently unintentional or the result of the negligent person’s financial or other limitations. For instance, failing to feed a chicken throughout its forced molting process can result in it producing eggs that meet industry requirements after food is once again provided.

HOARDING:

A person who owns more animals than they are able to care for is engaging in hoarding, a particularly severe form of animal neglect, which results in partial or complete animal neglect. Hoarders frequently pose as rescues because they believe they are saving animals from pain or homelessness. There are many who propose that animal hoarding is a specific kind of Diogenes syndrome, which is an age-related behavioral condition. But animal hoarders come from all age groups and are not limited to any particular population.

PHYSICAL ABUSE:

When we think of animal abuse, we usually image physical maltreatment of the animals. An animal that is abused in this way is physically abused. This could include cockfighting, soring horses to improve their performance for competition, or doing any other kind of animal harm. Regrettably, certain sectors tolerate a wide range of physical animal mistreatment. For instance, hens used in the egg business are frequently transported in small cages, which causes some of the birds to pass away prematurely.[3]

CULTURAL RITUALS:

In India, cultural animal abuse is the most prevalent kind of animal cruelty. Animals must either be tormented or sacrificed as part of numerous Indian rites. For instance, elephants are taken captive in some regions of India so that their spirits might be broken by various harsh practices including  hunger, sleep deprivation, or nailing the ear and foot.

In a same vein, goat heads are butchered during festivals. In India, cultural animal abuse is one of the most serious forms of cruelty.

MOVIE AND TV INDUSTRY:

Consider how an adorable dog or even a wild animal was tamed and trained when you see them acting on screen or in a Bollywood  film. Consider the kind of surroundings in which they were housed as well.

In case you were unaware, animals are rarely harmed while training for films and television programs. It is well known that their trainers abuse their bodies throughout training. They don’t give enough food, water, shelter, or environmental stimulation. This explains why a lot of animals pass away during a scene’s filming.[4]

EXPLOITATION:

We are exploiting animals whenever we use them for our personal benefit, whether it be monetary or just for enjoyment. This can be anything from really mild (like putting a dog in a costume for a picture to gain likes on social media) to extremely upsetting (like forcing geese to create foie gras). There are hundreds more cases in between these two extremes because animals have always been viewed by mankind as disposable “things.”

We therefore breed dogs with severe genetic disorders because we prefer their appearance. We go along for an hour or two, pointing and laughing at wild animals that are locked in zoos, circuses, and aquariums. Animals, both alive and dead, are commodities that we buy and sell. And we take advantage of their ability to procreate in order to obtain from them everything we desire, be it their offspring, flesh, milk, eggs, fur, fins, feathers, skins, or anything else.[5]

PROTECTING ANIMALS THROUGH LOCAL LEGISLATIONS

The Animal Legal Defense Fund may advise activists interested in modifying legislation at the city and county levels and urges them to push for stricter animal protection laws in their local towns.

Local laws are an effective instrument for animal welfare. Effective animal protection regulations, first and foremost, benefit the local animals. Additionally, they have the power to encourage laws to be passed at higher governmental levels. For instance, before California passed the first state wide retail pet sale ban in 2017, hundreds of towns and counties had already passed similar legislation. It matters when there is local change.[6]

The Indian Constitution contains a number of clauses that safeguard the rights of animals.
India has a large number of laws protecting both domestic and wild animals. In addition, a number of significant rulings pertaining to animal rights exist.

CONSTITUTION PROTECTION FOR ANIMAL RIGHTS:

The Indian Constitution states that everyone has an obligation to protect and maintain the nation’s natural resources, which include its rivers, lakes, forests, and wildlife. Many of these clauses, nonetheless, are found in the DPSPs and Fundamental Duties, which are unenforceable absent legislative support.

According to Article 48 A, the State is required to work toward preserving and enhancing the environment as well as the nation’s forests and wildlife.

Every Indian citizen has an obligation “to protect and improve the natural environment including forests, lakes, rivers, and wildlife, and to have compassion for living creatures,” according to Article 51A(g).

  • The phrase “prevention of animal cruelty” appears in item 17.
  • The phrase “protection of wild animals and birds” appears in item 17B.[7]

PUNISHMENTS AND PENALITIES FOR OFFENDERS:

Law enforcement agencies, animal welfare workers, and individuals who provide care for animals are empowered to pursue criminals under the provisions of the PCA Act, 1960. Section 11 of the Act covers all acts of cruelty as far as animal welfare regulations are concerned. The PCA Act, 1960’s Section 11 addresses the different abuses and crimes committed against both domesticated and wild animals. There are sixteen subsections in this section that address the many types of cruelty. A person who violates any one of the sixteen subsections may be fined 10 rupees, up to a maximum of fifty rupees. However, the second offense, which is defined as an offense committed within three years of the first offense, carries a sentence of three months in jail and a minimum punishment of twenty-five rupees, with a maximum fine of one hundred rupees.

Owners of animals are required by Section 11(2) of the PCA Act, 1960 to provide appropriate care and supervision in order to prevent cruelty to their own animals. They will be found guilty if they did not fulfill their duties.

Section 11 of the Act states that it is illegal to subject animals to any kind of cruelty. A maximum fine of fifty rupees per animal for the first offense committed. A maximum fine of one hundred rupees and/or three months in jail are the penalties for committing the same offense again within three years. An animal that has been the victim of cruelty may be ordered by the court to be forfeited; after that, it becomes government property. In addition, the court has the authority to forbid the guilty individual from possessing any animal. The court may decide to impose a permanent ban or one that lasts for a specific amount of time.[8]

INDIAN JUDICIARY AND ANIMAL RIGHTS 

In India, animal rights law has primarily taken the animal welfare approach when making decisions that align with the Wildlife Protection Act and the Prevention of Cruelty Act. Furthermore, the Indian judiciary has demonstrated an active involvement in defending animal rights through its rulings.

The Supreme Court noted that “the sport of Jallikattu and other practice of bullock racing come under the definition of cruelty as laid down in Sections 3 and 11 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (PCA) Act” Welfare Board of India in Animal v. A. Nagaraja.[9] It could be argued that forcing bulls to run is cruel to them because they are not trained performers nor are they used to the demands of standing for extended periods of time.The Supreme Court ruled in this case that bull racing, which involves the cruelty of the bulls, violates both the Article 21 Fundamental Right to Life and Article 51A(g) Fundamental Duty by taking into account the cruelty inflicted upon animals and the laws pertaining to cruelty.

The Supreme Court also looked at the “legalities of animal sacrifice during the Gadhimai festival in Nepal” in the case of Gauri Maulekhi v. Union of India. The Supreme Court ruled that the shipping of animals to Nepal without the required permits is prohibited after noting that the Gadhimai festival’s tradition of animal sacrifice is inhumane. In its ruling, the SC further declared that the State must fulfill its obligation to guarantee that animals are not the victims of cruelty of any kind.

Animals “also have a right to life under Article 21 of the Constitution,” the Tripura High Court noted in a recent ruling. The Court determined that the state’s practice of offering animal sacrifices at temples was unconstitutional. However, the Supreme Court has stayed this groundbreaking decision made by the Tripura High Court.[10]

THE ROLE OF TECHONOLOGY IN PROMOTING ANIMAL RIGHTS AND WELFARE:

Emerging technologies that have the potential to improve animal welfare include artificial intelligence (AI) and precision agriculture. These technologies can address concerns about animal treatment and improve the well-being of animals.
AI is able to track the behaviour of animals, recognize illness in its early stages, and launch prompt interventions. AI-enabled cameras, for instance, are able to recognize behavioural changes in animals that may indicate an illness or injury. Precision farming helps farmers manage water resources, maximize nutrition for farm animals, and lessen stress on the animal husbandry employed in farming. By monitoring the ethical source of food products, digital technologies such as block chain can guarantee transparency and accountability in the food supply chain.

Cutting-edge technologies with the potential to transform animal husbandry and improve cattle welfare include block chain, AI, and precision agriculture. To avoid unforeseen repercussions, it is imperative to utilize these technologies in an ethical and responsible manner.[11]

SUGGESTIONS FOR REDUCING ANIMAL CRUELTY

  • Take care of your pets. Recognize your pet’s needs and meet them. Giving your pet happy experiences that truly improve its well-being is more important than merely attending to its basic needs.
  • Set a good example for other animals. Take in a pet that has been abandoned. Sadly, a lot of animals are given up to shelters for a variety of reasons. Foster homes aid in the recuperation of these animals and help them be ready to go to a new, loving, permanent home.
  • If you see animal mistreatment, neglect, or brutality, take action. Take all necessary action to prevent animal abuse. But use common sense and avoid putting yourself in peril. Seek assistance from additional witnesses if required.
  • Report any abuse, neglect, or cruelty to animals. Inform the police or other authorities if you see any kind of animal abuse. Take quick action to stop more abuse.
  • Instill in your kids a respect for animals. Be a good example by treating animals with respect. Teach kids to be kind and loving toward animals. As they grow older, assist them in becoming the next wave of animal champions.
  • Call for stronger legislation to protect animals. Stricter laws governing animal care and harsher penalties will lead to fewer instances of animal abuse.
  • Give a needy animal a place to stay. You might be the animal’s needed helping hand. When an animal is abused, it requires help, sometimes right away. Removing animal from a dangerous circumstance has the potential to truly change things.
  • Remember that there is a direct correlation between spousal violence and animal neglect. Abuse of animals and abuse of people are frequently closely related. You might be benefiting the family in question as well as the animal in need by reporting your suspicions. Also see “Animal cruelty and human violence: a connection.”
  • Inform anyone in your vicinity about the problem. Inform people that if they see animal mistreatment, neglect, or even torture, they have the authority to intervene. Animals have the right to live pain-free, and it is our responsibility to step in if this right isn’t being respected.
  • Help those who are struggling with their animal. Neglecting animals doesn’t always mean that they aren’t loved. It’s possible that an owner lacks the mental capacity to give an animal the proper care. Regardless of the cause, a neglected pet needs to be taken out of its environment and provided with the care it needs to survive and recover. Your assistance to an animal may also benefit a human.[12]

RECENT AMENDMENTS:

The six-decade-old Prevention of Cruelty to Animal Act, 1960 is being amended by the government with the introduction of the draft Prevention of Cruelty to Animal (Amendment)Bill-2022.
The Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry, and Dairying is the one that prepared the document.

PUNISHMENT FOR GRUESUM CRUELTY:

A judicial judge may impose a minimum fine of Rs 50,000, which may be enhanced to Rs 75,000 in consultation with the jurisdictional veterinarians; alternatively, the judicial magistrate may choose the amount, whichever is greater; or a maximum fine of one year, which may be extended to three years.

Punishment for killing an Animal:

A fine and a possible 5-year jail sentence.

Freedoms to Animals:

Anybody in charge of an animal has an obligation to make sure the creature in his care or under his supervision possesses:

Additionally, the proposal suggests adding a new Section 3A that gives animals “five freedoms.

  • Freedom from thirst, hunger and malnutrition
  • Freedom from discomfort due to environment
  • Freedom from pain, injury and diseases
  • Freedom to express normal behaviour for the species
  • Freedom from fear and distress[13]

CONCLUSION:

To sum up, the Animal Cruelty Act is an essential tool in the fight for a society that is more morally upright and empathetic. The Act attempts to prevent harm being done to sentient beings by means of its clear definitions, sanctions, and enforcement procedures. Nevertheless, there are still issues with its implementation, thus improvements must be made continuously. To build a society that actively promotes animal welfare in addition to adhering to the law, legislative changes, increased public awareness, and cooperative efforts are necessary. The Act continues to be a pillar in the face of changing public opinions, calling on us all to work together to end animal cruelty in the future.

Reference(s):

[1] This Article was actually published under ipleaders , the link of which is given below:  Mahawar S, “An Overview of Animal Protection Laws in India – iPleaders” (iPleaders, June 27, 2022) <https://blog.ipleaders.in/overview-animal-protection-laws-india/>

[2]This Article was actually published under Faunalytics, the link of which is given below: Frantz O, “The History Of Animal Rights In India – Faunalytics” (Faunalytics,           September 9, 2022) <https://faunalytics.org/the-history-of-animal-rights-in-india/>

[3]  The article was actually published on Sinergia , the link for which is given below

“What Is Animal Cruelty and What Are Its Main Types?” (Sinergia Animal, May 27, 2022) <https://www.sinergiaanimalinternational.org/single-post/animal-cruelty>

[4]This was published under Helplocal India , the link for which is given below:

 “Animal Cruelty in India: Definition, Facts, Types, and Organizations” (Helplocal India, January 15, 2021) <https://helplocal.in/blog/animal-cruelty-india-definition-types-solutions-organizations/>

[5] It was published on Genv , the link for which is given below:

 “Animal Cruelty: What Is It, Types & How to Report Animal Cruelty” (GenV, January 28, 2021) <https://genv.org/animal-cruelty/>

[6]It was actually published under the following link:

 “Protecting Animals through Local Legislation” (Animal Legal Defense Fund) <https://aldf.org/article/protecting-animals-through-local-legislation/>

[7]It was originally published under Clear IAS, the link of which is given below:

 “Protection of Animals: Important Laws in India” (ClearIAS, September 24, 2022) <https://www.clearias.com/protection-of-animals/>

[8]It was originally published under ipleaders, the link for which is given below:

 Sehgal DR, “Punishment for Animal Cruelty and Laws for Animal Welfare in India – iPleaders” (iPleaders, September 14, 2021) <https://blog.ipleaders.in/punishment-animal-cruelty-laws-animal-welfare-india/>

[9]It was originally written on Bharti s , the link for which is given below:

 Bharti S, “Animals No More a Property! Are They ‘Persons’ Then? Some Reflections on the Judgement in Animal Welfare Board of India V. a Nagaraja(2014) 7 S.c.c. 547” [2023] SSRN Electronic Journal <http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4368054>

[10] It was originally published on Bar and Bench – Indian Legal News, the link for which is given below:

Bench B&, “Takeaways from the Tripura High Court Judgment Prohibiting Animal/Bird Sacrifice in Temples” (Bar and Bench – Indian Legal news, October 30, 2019) https://www.barandbench.com/columns/takeaways-from-the-tripura-high-court-judgment-prohibiting-animal-bird-sacrifice-in-temples

[11] It was actually published under Drishti IAS, the link for which is given below:

 “Animal Rights and Welfare” (Drishti IAS, October 5, 2023) <https://www.drishtiias.com/blog/animal-rights-and-welfare>

[12] It was originally published on Four Paws International – Animal Welfare Orgnisation, the link for which is given below:

“Ways to Prevent Cruelty to Animals” (FOUR PAWS International – Animal Welfare Organisation) <https://www.four-paws.org/campaigns-topics/topics/companion-animals/preventcrueltytoanimals/ways-to-prevent-cruelty-to-animals>

[13]It was originally published on Drishti IAS , the link for which is given below:

 “Draft Prevention of Cruelty to Animal (Amendment) Bill-2022” (Drishti IAS, November 24, 2022) <https://www.drishtiias.com/daily-updates/daily-news-analysis/draft-prevention-of-cruelty-to-animal-amendment-bill-2022>

 

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